DGAP-News: Scout24 AG / Key word(s): Annual Results
Scout24 faces the current market turbulence with strength after a successful 2019 financial year
Strong revenue and earnings growth in continuing operations
After the expected closing of the AutoScout24 transaction, Scout24 will focus on its continuing real estate activities. As a result of the provisions of IFRS 5, the new reporting structure is already reflected in the annual report for 2019 and therefore also forms the basis for this release.
The Scout24 Group continued its growth course in the financial year 2019 and increased its revenue from continuing operations by 9.9% to EUR 349.7 million (2018: EUR 318.2 million). The corresponding ordinary operating EBITDA was up 10.9% to EUR 209.3 million (2018: EUR 188.7 million) in the past financial year. The resulting ordinary operating EBITDA margin increased slightly to 59.9% (2018: 59.3%).
The positive revenue development of the continuing operations was mainly driven by the business with residential real estate partners (12.1% revenue growth) and business real estate partners (11.8% revenue growth) and the fast-growing services for consumers (30.0% revenue growth).
In total, the number of residential real estate partners was up 1.5% to 14,967 (2018: 14,745). The ARPU with residential real estate partners increased by 6.6% to EUR 676 (2018: EUR 634). In addition to a successful upselling to current agency customers (on-top products and higher membership models), another important on-top product was the Realtor Lead Engine, whose revenue almost tripled in 2019 to EUR 9.5 million. The number of business real estate partners reduced slightly by 1.5% to 2,774 (2018: 2,815). The ARPU with business real estate partners increased however year on year by 12.4% to EUR 1,761 (2018: EUR 1,567).
The services revenue was especially driven by the successful enhancement of the premium membership for consumers searching for real estate.
Revenue with private listers and others fell slightly. This was mainly due to the deconsolidation of classmarkets. The switch from a licensing model to a SaaS pricing model at the subsidiary FlowFact also had a dampening effect. In contrast, ImmoScout24 Austria recorded strong growth of 26.0%. Revenue from private listings remained at the previous year's level due to competition. Display revenue was slightly below the previous year due to market and economic conditions.
As a result of further cost efficiency improvements, the Group ordinary operating EBITDA increased even stronger than revenue. While other operating costs remained almost flat compared to the previous year (2019: EUR 50.8 million; 2018: EUR 49.0 million), increased future investments were made, which is reflected in higher marketing expenses (up 23.4% to EUR 30.6 million) and higher own work capitalised (up 24.7% to EUR 14.0 million). Personnel costs classified as operating expenses grew at a lower rate than revenues, by 3.8% to EUR 72.9 million.
The reported Group EBITDA from continuing operations at EUR 163.7 million was slightly below the previous year's figure (2018: EUR 164.2 million). This is due to non-operating costs, which at EUR 45.7 million were significantly higher than in the previous year (2018: EUR 24.5 million). Against the background of the very positive share price development, a large part of this cost increase is attributable to share-based compensation (EUR 29.0 million in 2019 vs. EUR 12.9 million in 2018). In addition, EUR 9.3 million (2018: EUR 3.8 million) are attributable to reorganisation and EUR 7.3 million (2018: EUR 7.7 million) to M&A activities.
The following table provides an overview of the Scout24 Group's key financial figures for the 2019 financial year - for the continuing and discontinued operations according to IFRS 5.
1 On 17 December 2019, Scout24 concluded an agreement for the sale of 100 % of the shares in AutoScout24, FinanceScout24 and FINANZCHECK. The transaction comprises the operations from the Consumer Services segment that are to be integrated into AutoScout24. The continuing operations shown in the table consist of the former ImmobilienScout24 segment and the related business from the Consumer Services segment that is allocated to the IS24 business.
2 Ordinary operating EBITDA refers to EBITDA adjusted for non-operating effects, which mainly include expenses for share-based payments, M&A activities (realised and unrealised), reorganisation, strategic projects and other non-operating effects.
3 The ordinary operating EBITDA margin of a segment is defined as ordinary operating EBITDA as a percentage of external segment revenue.
4 Capital expenditure (adjusted) does not include capital expenditure made due to the application of IFRS 16 in the financial year 2018.
5 Cash contribution is defined as ordinary operating EBITDA less capital expenditure (adjusted).
6 The cash conversion rate is defined as ordinary operating EBITDA less capital expenditure divided by ordinary operating EBITDA.
For the 2019 financial year, the Management Board has proposed a dividend of EUR 0.90 per share to the Supervisory Board. This corresponds to approximately 50% of the adjusted net profit (2019: EUR 1.77 per share) and a total dividend payout amount of EUR 94.3 million.
Scout24 plans to return capital from the proceeds of the AutoScout24 sale, to be received in the first half of 2020, to its shareholders. In addition to the aforementioned dividend payment, share buybacks in the amount of circa EUR 1.7 billion are planned for this purpose over the next twelve to fifteen months. For more detail, please refer to the ad-hoc announcement of 25 March 2020. Furthermore, debt in the amount of up to EUR 780 million is planned to be repaid.
The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for the economic development in Germany are currently not fully predictable. However, Scout24 already sees burdens on many of its business partners and therefore expects a decline in business activities. Against this background, the Management Board last week launched an immediate-action programme to support both professional customers and private listers. This means that our previously communicated revenue growth rate of 6-8% for 2020 would not be achievable anymore. In light of this, the Management Board has decided to suspend the guidance for 2020.
On 26 March 2020, 3 p.m. CET, Scout24 will host a conference call and webcast for financial analysts and investors. Dial-in will be under the following numbers:
Webcast link: https://webcasts.eqs.com/scout2420200326/no-audio(no audio, slides only)
A replay of the conference call will be made available at: https://webcasts.eqs.com/scout2420200326
On Thursday, 14 May 2020, Scout24 plans to publish the results for the first quarter of the financial year 2020.
Scout24 is one of the leading digital companies in Germany. With ImmoScout24, an online platform for residential and commercial real estate, we successfully bring together owners, realtors, tenants, and buyers to make complex decisions easy - and we have been doing so for more than 20 years. With around 14 million users per month, ImmoScout24 is the market leader for digital real estate marketing and search. To digitise the process of real estate transactions, ImmoScout24 is continually developing new products and building up an ecosystem for renting, buying, and commercial real estate in Germany. Scout24 is a listed stock corporation (ISIN: DE000A12DM80, Ticker: G24) and member of the MDAX. Further information is available on Twitter and LinkedIn. Since 2012, ImmoScout24 has also been active in the Austrian real estate market, reaching around 3 million users monthly.
The information contained in this release is subject to amendment, revision and updating. Certain statements, beliefs and opinions in this document are forward-looking, which reflect the Company's or, as appropriate, senior management's current expectations and projections about future events. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results, including but not limited to the Company's financial position or profitability, to differ materially, also adversely, from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Statements contained in this document regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any information contained in this document (including forward-looking statements), whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.
Scout24 also uses alternative performance measures, not defined by IFRS, to describe the Scout24 Group's results of operations. These should not be viewed in isolation, but treated as supplementary information. The special items used to calculate some alternative performance measures arise from the integration of acquired businesses, restructuring measures, impairments, gains or losses resulting from divestitures and sales of shareholdings, and other expenses and income that generally do not arise in conjunction with Scout24's ordinary business activities. Alternative performance measures used by Scout24 are defined in the "Glossary" section of Scout24's Group Management Report 2019 which is available at www.scout24.com/financial-reports.
Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout this statement may not add up precisely to the totals indicated, and percentages may not precisely reflect the absolute figures for the same reason. Information on the quarterly financials has not been subject to audit and is thus preliminary.
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|Listed:||Regulated Market in Berlin, Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Regulated Unofficial Market in Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart, Tradegate Exchange; London|
|EQS News ID:||1007399|
|End of News||DGAP News Service|